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Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden…

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And… (original 2009; édition 2010)

par Bart D. Ehrman (Auteur)

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Addresses the issue of what the New Testament actually teaches-- and it's not what most people think.
Titre:Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)
Auteurs:Bart D. Ehrman (Auteur)
Info:HarperOne (2010), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Collections:Votre bibliothèque

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Jesus Interrupted par Bart D. Ehrman (2009)



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Affichage de 1-5 de 41 (suivant | tout afficher)
I have listened to a couple of Bart Ehrman's Great Courses lectures and read two of his books (one somewhat embarrassingly forgotten from more than a decade ago), and I decided I'd read several more, and reread that one, to start out 2021. Ehrman is not without controversy - the devout really don't like his findings - but he's a good scholar and his scholarship shows in all of his writings and lectures. This book covers the subtitle and more. He outlines what we know, what we don't know, what we can't know (that's vexes the evangelicals), connects the dots and explains his rationale for the paths of connection he's chosen. He's clear as to the historical unreliability of almost everything in the canon (that makes him immensely popular among the faithful). And, he politely denies that any of it is an attack on Christianity. He says "I have been trying, instead, to make serious scholarship on the Bible and earliest Christianity accessible and available to people who may be interested in the New Testament but who, for one reason or another, have never heard what scholars have long known and thought about it." I don't see it as attacks, but then I don't play at the faith that takes the exception and emotions run high when our convictions are threatened. So...I'm primed to accept what he's presented. I do check his notes (which he properly cited in the text), follow the threads, which is why it takes longer to read good nonfiction, make my own notes...

His analyses are logical. He's a New Testament scholar who just happens to be a former "serious" Christian. He's read the oldest manuscripts we have (none of which are original, nor copies of originals, nor even copies of copies...) in their original languages. He's read the other documents, traced the history, identified all of the contradictions, changes, morphology that led him to the only conclusion that the bible is a human document, not a divinely inspired or authored one. And...none of this is new!! All of it has been know, discussed, analyzed in academia and seminaries for at least a couple of centuries. But these facts are largely unknown and ...not only are most Americans (increasingly) ignorant of the contents of the Bible, but they are also almost completely in the dark about what scholars have been saying about the Bible for the past two centuries.So this should be required reading for anyone professing to be a Christian...and they won't read it. Even though he has "been trying, instead, to make serious scholarship on the Bible and earliest Christianity accessible and available to people who may be interested in the New Testament but who, for one reason or another, have never heard what scholars have long known and thought about it." He says My view is that everyone already picks and chooses what they want to accept in the Bible. The most egregious instances of this can be found among people who claim not to be picking and choosing.I've been watching, accessing, evaluating that for more than 40 years and that is my view also.

Selected soundbite takeaways, because as usual with a good book, I have more notes than anyone needs to see in a review:

On seminary studentsFor the country’s mainline denominations—Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopalian, and so on—a good number of these students are already what I would call liberal. They do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and are more committed to the church as an institution than to Scripture as a blueprint for what to believe and how to live one’s life. And many of them, frankly, don’t know very much about the Bible and have only a kind of vague sense of its religious value.The Institutions are strong.

On mainline Protestant seminariesThey are keen to make students knowledgeable about the Bible, rather than teach what is actually in the Bible.

Historianshave problems using the Gospels as historical sources, in view of their discrepancies and the fact that they were written decades after the life of Jesus by unknown authors who had inherited their accounts about him from the highly malleable oral tradition. And for scholarship of anything, especially the bible, "one should always know what the data are before deciding too quickly what the data mean."Knowing which books attributed to Paul or Peter could not have been written by the authors accepted to have written the other books is critical. Because when seeing obvious contradictions between two accepted books of the bible, "if you are creative enough, you can figure out a plausible explanation for both accounts being right." Apologists are extremely creative. I've known for decades that if the bible had a good editor, most of the problems would have been erased. Instead, it shows the collection to be what Ehrman says, a thoroughly human book, written by humans, with humans flaws, reflecting the human conflict that it (and the faith it represents) evolved from.

Other historical contradictionsThe historical problems with Luke are even more pronounced. For one thing, we have relatively good records for the reign of Caesar Augustus, and there is no mention anywhere in any of them of an empire-wide census for which everyone had to register by returning to their ancestral home. Or logical contradictions coming from the need to put Jesus in Bethlehem (not a an early church problem or even a thought, but one for the gospel writers who came much later): "If Jesus is not a blood-relation to Joseph, why is it that Matthew and Luke trace Jesus’ bloodline precisely through Joseph?"

Jesus's life story varies widely (with convenient convergences that can only be attributed to direct lifting from other texts, and divergences that are easily explained by understanding the radically different schools of thought on Jesus during the early evoltuion of the church). Example: what did the voice at the baptism of Jesus say?In Mark, however, the voice says, “You are my son, in whom I am well pleased.” In this case the voice appears to be speaking directly to Jesus, telling him, or confirming to him, who he really is.
[And] In Luke we have something different (this is a bit complicated, because different manuscripts of Luke’s Gospel give the voice different words. I am taking here the original wording of the verse as found in some older manuscripts of the Bible, even though it is not found in most English translations).9 Here the voice says, “You are my son, today I have begotten you” (3:22), quoting the words of Psalm 2:7.Selected notes, I said, and I've got many more for my use, for anyone who has read this far, why are there so many problems with all four of the gospels, even if three are Synoptic? [...]we have an answer to our ultimate question of why these Gospels are so different from one another. They were not written by Jesus’ companions or by companions of his companions. They were written decades later by people who didn’t know Jesus, who lived in a different country or different countries from Jesus, and who spoke a different language from Jesus.Not generally known among most of the practicing Christians i have known, and if known among the clerical ones (chaplains and minister friends), ignored.

Ehrman is careful with pronouncements. He's a historian and a good one. He uses phrases such as "it seems unlikely." Pop book authors like O'Reilly will state things as fact with no sources. I will trust a historian whose positions come with caveats and rightful uncertainty.

For anyone who claims that Jesus was written about or even popularly known in or near his lifetime, ...What do Greek and Roman sources have to say about Jesus? Or to make the question more pointed: if Jesus lived and died in the first century (death around 30 CE), what do the Greek and Roman sources from his own day through the end of the century (say, the year 100) have to say about him? The answer is breathtaking. They have absolutely nothing to say about him. He is never discussed, challenged, attacked, maligned, or talked about in any way in any surviving pagan source of the period. There are no birth records, accounts of his trial and death, reflections on his significance, or disputes about his teachings. In fact, his name is never mentioned once in any pagan source. And we have a lot of Greek and Roman sources from the period: religious scholars, historians, philosophers, poets, natural scientists; we have thousands of private letters; we have inscriptions placed on buildings in public places. In no first-century Greek or Roman (pagan) source is Jesus mentioned.
The first time Jesus is mentioned in a pagan source is in the year 112 CE. The author, Pliny the Younger, was a governor of a Roman province. In a letter that he wrote to his emperor, Trajan, he indicates that there was a group of people called Christians who were meeting illegally; he wants to know how to handle the situation.Ehrman does believe Jesus existed. He doesn't believe he was any of the things that the myth grew to encompass, but he is convinced that there was an itinerant apocalyptic Jewish preacher sometime in the early first century of the common era. "The idea that Jesus was divine was a later Christian invention, one found, among our Gospels, only in John. [...] In many ways, what became Christianity represents a series of rather important departures from the teachings of Jesus. Christianity, as has long been recognized by critical historians, is the religion about Jesus, not the religion of Jesus." These things fascinate me.

Jumping off points:
- other Ehrman books, obviously
- Pseudonymity, the New Testament, and Deception: An Inquiry into Intention and Reception by Terry. L. Wilder
- Synopsis of the Four Gospels by Kurt Auland ( )
  Razinha | Jan 13, 2021 |
An expert on the Historical/Critical approach to reading/interpreting the Bible, he shows the many contradictions within the Bible, explains why many of the books weren't written by the people we think of as the authors, how some of these contradictions reveal the context of the people who were writing the books, and the long road to a canon. He also talks about why these results of historical/critical reading should not be a barrier to Christian faith, even though he, himself, has become agnostic.
  JohnLavik | Mar 29, 2020 |
A detailed critical-historical account of the New Testament explaining the contradictions and differences between the books. Ehrman shows how the different authors of the New Testament had very different theological views and how these views gradually evolved into christian ortodoxy after three centuries.
Ehrman's scholarship is excellent and his prose is clear. The only reason I would deduct one star, is it is to much essayistic for my taste, referring constantly to his own (abandoned) beliefes and how he teaches his students. ( )
  haraldgroven | Sep 8, 2019 |
To be honest this book confirmed what I have already thought about The Bible. My feelings about the Bible are that it's part history, part myth, part storytelling, part polemic and part propaganda. Ehrman establishes that he was once a "conservative Christian" who has left the Christian faith. He did not leave because of his research and findings from the Bible but because he cannot reconcile a loving God with all the suffering that he sees in the world. I can appreciate his feelings as they mirror mine partly.

Ehrman points out some of the discrepancies that can be found in the New Testament related to the life-and-death of Jesus Christ. Ehrman does believe that Christ existed but leaves the door wide open as to whether Christ was divine and the son of God. Much of the New Testament was written 60-70 or more years from Christ's death. It seems that the authors of the New Testament took great pains to reconcile Christ's life and deeds with previously held myths and speculations about the Messiah who was about to come.

Ehrman takes great pains to ensure his neutrality in presenting information in the book. He realizes that most Christians are unaware of the historical findings related to documents presented in the Bible. If you believe the Bible is the word of God and that literally everything is true within it, you may not like the conclusions or findings that Ehrman presents.

At some point in what remains of my life, I should read the Bible. Not as a believer but someone who appreciates the history of Christianity and would be interested to know more about its history and doctrines. ( )
1 voter writemoves | Jun 17, 2019 |
Bart Ehrman is at it again. While in his previous book, Misquoting Jesus, he kept the focus primarily upon the actual art of textual criticism, Jesus, Interrupted, goes further into the historical context under which the Bible was developed.

The information within the book will not come as a surprise to anyone interested within the historical aspects of the Bible itself, nor those who have read his New Testament textbook, but to those who have only a devotional interest in the Bible it should be a shock. The Bible, not the inspired word of God? Say it ain't so!

The tone of the book, as most of Ehrman's work is, remains respectful and gentle. Never does he condemn those who hold the faith, in fact he goes out of his way to point out how much he respects them. This book would go a long way towards resolving the differences between those who hold the faith and those who don't. It's a brilliant piece of work, seeking only to foster an understanding of what's already been written and the situation under which the ideas came alive. ( )
  Lepophagus | Jun 14, 2018 |
Affichage de 1-5 de 41 (suivant | tout afficher)
In the end, Jesus, Interrupted can be best summarized as a book filled with ironies. Ironic that it purports to be about unbiased history but rarely presents an opposing viewpoint; ironic that it claims to follow the scholarly consensus but breaks from it so often; ironic that it insists on the historical-critical method but then reads the gospels with a modernist, overly-literal hermeneutic; ironic that it claims no one view of early Christianity could be "right" (Walter Bauer) but then proceeds to tell us which view of early Christianity is "right"; ironic that it dismisses Papias with a wave of the hand but presents the Gospel of the Ebionites as if it were equal to the canonical four; and ironic that it declares everyone can "pick and choose" what is right for them, but then offers its own litany of moral absolutes.
ajouté par Christa_Josh | modifierWestminster Theological Journal, Michael J. Kruger (Sep 1, 2009)
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Addresses the issue of what the New Testament actually teaches-- and it's not what most people think.

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